Step by Step

In­te­rior de­signer An­drea Rod­man finds the artistry in the process.


An­drea Rod­man wants to know how many shoes you own. You might ex­pect an in­te­rior de­signer to be more in­ter­ested in your favourite shades of blue or where you land on the mod­ern-to-tra­di­tional spec­trum, but for this year’s win­ner of the Robert Led­ing­ham Memo­rial Award for an emerg­ing in­te­rior de­signer, great de­sign starts with life­style, not just “style” style.

“Func­tion­al­ity is ex­tremely im­por­tant to us, so we want to make sure we know all the quirks and re­quire­ments that come with each fam­ily,” says Rod­man, sit­ting com­fort­ably at a mar­ble-topped ta­ble in the Van­cou­ver of­fice she shares with fel­low in­te­rior de­sign­ers Shift De­signs and Gaile Gue­vara. “We want to know ev­ery lit­tle thing so we can max­i­mize their life­style and use ev­ery square inch in a pos­i­tive way.” Her team of three starts ev­ery project with ex­ten­sive in­ter­views and re­search, a process that delves into the day-to-day nitty-gritty with ex­ten­sive sur­veys ask­ing ev­ery­thing from “How many din­ner guests at your dream din­ner party?” to “How many pairs of pants do you have?”

Luck­ily for her clients, the max­i­mum func­tion­al­ity Rod­man strives for comes with a lib­eral dose of beauty. “I re­ally want to cre­ate a har­mony,” she ex­plains. “I want to cre­ate el­e­ments that pull

“I en­joy the tech­ni­cal and prob­lem-solv­ing as­pects, and the 3D spa­tial think­ing. I love walk­ing through the space and vi­su­al­iz­ing how it all fits to­gether. It keeps you sharp.”

con­tin­u­ously from each other.” Her spa­ces are airy and light, with thought­ful de­tails lay­ered in that keep them hov­er­ing some­where in be­tween con­tem­po­rary and homey—a cof­fered ceil­ing, laser-cut wal­nut screens, pleas­ingly tex­tured bath­room tiles. Rod­man spent her early 20s in Aus­tralia ( her mother is an Aussie), and the cozy­ca­sual mod­ernism of Down Un­der de­sign­ers cer­tainly works its way into her projects. “I love their aes­thetic and the mix of mod­ern and tra­di­tional de­sign,” she ex­plains, though Scan­di­na­vian and Euro­pean de­sign are in­spi­ra­tions, too, pop­ping up fre­quently on the mood boards Rod­man—a self-pro­fessed Pin­terestophile—builds for clients.

For a kitchen ren­o­va­tion in a home near Vic­to­ria, Rod­man gut­ted the room and re­placed it with clean and sim­ple in­te­grated cab­i­nets that blend into the back­ground—ideal for a cou­ple that loves to cook and en­ter­tain; glam gold Gubi pen­dant lights, a mar­ble back­splash and camel-coloured bar stools add warmth and so­phis­ti­ca­tion to the hy­per-func­tional space.

A fam­ily home in North Van­cou­ver has a Scan­di­na­vian-mod­ern

“For me, there’s a level of ful­fill­ment know­ing you’re im­pact­ing lives in a pos­i­tive way.”

vibe thanks to a sooth­ing neu­tral pal­ette, but its open-con­cept ground floor isn’t de­signed just with trends in mind: it’s in­tended to gather ev­ery­one to­gether at the end of the day.

There’s a co­he­sive­ness and through-line to each project that cap­ti­vated our judg­ing panel. “An­drea shows re­straint with a clean and sim­ple ex­e­cu­tion of her de­sign de­tails in spa­ces fea­tur­ing a warm and mod­ern pal­ette,” com­mented DOTY judge Alessan­dro Munge, prin­ci­pal for Stu­dio Munge. “The story of the in­te­ri­ors re­ally held to­gether nicely.”

The heavy re­search com­po­nent of her work may not be what drew Rod­man to the job in the first place—she stepped into the in­dus­try af­ter a stint in the fashion world, on the hunt for a way to turn her artis­tic inklings into a ca­reer—but 10 years af­ter open­ing her epony­mous firm, she’s con­fi­dent that this strong foun­da­tion is what al­lows her to do her best work. “I feel like in the last few years, I’ve honed in on how to max out my cre­ativ­ity and process and self-ex­pres­sion,” she ex­plains. “Process is what cre­ates beau­ti­ful work. Putting in time, that’s how we get re­sults that we love. We can’t rush cre­ativ­ity, and we don’t want to.”

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